The Lighter Side of Life with Kate Mason: Scrap the education - it’s all about the school uniform

Uniform from Asda.
Uniform from Asda.

The threat of having to squeeze my feet into a sweaty pair of pumps from the communal gym box was the only incentive I needed to remind me to bring my games kit when I was at school.

I’d made the mistake of forgetting my plimsolls on one occasion (you know the ones with the attractive rubber toe) and the repercussions were catastrophic.

I had presumed I would simply watch my classmates from the sideline on this occasion but, oh no, thanks to the mothballed, sweat-ridden box of decaying garments of lost property the “I’ve forgotten my kit, Sir” was an excuse that never worked.

I suppose the fear of dressing up in garments hundreds of other kids had perspired in and wiped snot on, that were washed maybe once a term, served as a stark reminder to bring your own. But now it seems the uniform policy in schools is costing pupils a lot more than just their street cred.

A uniform misdemeanour in my day resulted in a disapproving ticking-off from the teacher, in extreme cases a detention or worst case scenario the dreaded “I’m not angry I’m just disappointed” speech.

But fast forward a few years and it seems many young transgressors face suspensions, isolation and even expulsion for not being suitably suited and booted.

I fully understand the importance of a school uniform and the need for pupils to fall in line.

Aside from representing the school and looking smart I do support the use of uniforms to break down class barriers and eliminate bullying, so you don’t have a Prada Vs Primark situation in the playground.

But when you’ve got straight-A students being sent home for wearing lace-up shoes instead of slip ons it just seems petty.

The debate surrounding the Draconian enforcement of the school uniform reached fever pitch last week when a 15-year-old girl was sent home from a school in Stoke-on-Trent because her trousers were too tight.

As if girls haven’t got enough insecurities at that age without teachers fuelling the fire.

The worst thing about that particular scenario was the teenager in question was only wearing trousers because the school had placed a blanket ban on skirts because it was a “distraction” for male members of staff.

Maybe some schools should focus more on pupil achievement and league table results than fashion choices.